February 28, 2012

Put On Your Dancing Shoes; Hopkins and Muhlenberg to the NCAAs

NCAA Bracket

Muhlenberg

The Muhlenberg women's basketball team has been sent south, east and north for the NCAA Division III Tournament. Now it is being sent west.

The Mules, who earned an automatic bid by winning the Centennial Conference championship at Johns Hopkins on Saturday, will travel to the University of Mount Union in Alliance, Ohio, for the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament this weekend.

Muhlenberg (22-5) will face NCAA Tournament newcomer Catholic (22-5), the champion of the Landmark Conference, in the first round. The game is tentatively scheduled for Friday, March 2, at 5:00.

Like the Mules, the Cardinals beat the regular-season champion (Juniata) on the road in their conference title game. Muhlenberg and Catholic have four common opponents in Washington College, McDaniel, Moravian and New Jersey. The Mules went 6-0 in those games, while the Cardinals were 4-2, losing twice to Washington.

The two schools have met in women's basketball only once before, in 1992.

The other half of the pod matches Mount Union (26-1) against La Roche (22-5). Mount Union, best known for its prominence in Division III football, was ranked sixth in the most recent D3hoops.com poll and also has a strong history in women's basketball, having reached the national semifinals twice.

The Mules are making their eighth NCAA Tournament appearance overall and their sixth in the last seven years. The only time during that span that they played in the immediate area was when they hosted in 2008; their other destinations were Fredericksburg, Va. (2006), Brunswick, Maine (2009), Union, N.J. (2010) and Rochester, N.Y. (2011).

Muhlenberg is 6-7 in its NCAA appearances and has advanced to the "Sweet 16" two of the last three years.

Women's basketball is the first team in College athletic history to make five straight NCAA Tournament appearances; men's soccer (1989-92 and 1994-97) and softball (1989-92) had four-year runs.

Johns Hopkins

BALTIMORE, MD – The 25th-ranked Johns Hopkins women's basketball team learned on Monday afternoon that its season will continue when the NCAA Division III Tournament field was announced. Hopkins will travel to Tufts University for the first and second rounds and will face the University of New England on Friday, March 2. The Blue Jays earned an at-large bid to the tournament after going 23-4 and finishing as the Centennial Conference regular season champions.

Hopkins is making its 10th appearance in the NCAA Tournament and second consecutive. The Blue Jays are 12-9 all-time in the tournament and have made three Sweet 16 appearances. Hopkins and the University of New England will meet for the first time on the hardwood. The Nor'easters (22-5) made it into the field of 64 with an at-large bid after falling in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) semifinals. UNE finished atop the CCC standings with a 16-2 league record and is making its second NCAA Tournament appearance in the last three seasons. The winner of the Johns Hopkins/University of New England game will advance to the face the winner of host Tufts and Misericordia.

Misericordia is making its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance after winning the Freedom Conference Championship with a 64-54 win over King's (PA) in the title game. The Cougars went 17-10 on the season and were the second seed in the conference tournament. Host Tufts earned an at-large bid to the field after falling to top-ranked Amherst in the championship game of the NESCAC. The Jumbos are 21-6 entering the NCAA Tournament and are making their fourth appearance in the last five years. Hopkins has never faced Misericordia or Tufts in women's basketball.

First round games are scheduled for Friday, March 2 at Tufts University, located in Medford, MA. More details, including game times and ticket prices, will be announced on Tuesday, February 28.